Blake seeks to provide the Golden String which can lead us through the labyrinth of our experience or his own poetry.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Color image in the Blake Archive
Jerusalem the Emanation of the Giant Albion
Plate 9

The Prophetic Books of William Blake Jerusalem by E. R. D. Maclagan and A. G. B. Russell, published July, 1903 was the first complete text published in ordinary type. The introduction summarizes the content:

"Man is at once the stage and the protagonist in the drama with which Blake is concerned,—the Fourfold Man, called symbolically by the name of Albion, "our ancestor, in whose sleep or Chaos creation began,"; and his state depends on the union and agreement of the four elements that are met in him. Beside the Humanity, or central personality of the individual, stand the Spectre, the reasoning power, and the Emanation (a word sometimes abridged into Eon,) the emotional and imaginative life, with the Shadow, which seems to be desire, restrained and become passive, " till it is only the shadow of desire." When these are united, and especially when the Spectre and the Emanation, contraries in whose interaction all other contraries are involved, are balanced and at peace, Man is in the state of salvation, which Boehme called temperature; when Spectre and Emanation have parted, Man is in a fallen state, and can only be redeemed by their reconciliation. This fall into division, and resurrection into unity, is the main subject of "Jerusalem " and indeed of most of the Prophetical books; for the parting of Reason and Imagination is the great tragedy, through which the Spectre becomes cold and the Emanation weak, the Shadow turns cruel, and the Humanity is overcome by deadly sleep (1 5, 6). A sleep, too, full of dreams, in which Man wavers between evil and good, drawn alternately by the male Spectre and the female Emanation, and so called by Blake hermaphroditic: a sleep from which only Christ, the Divine Imagination, can save the fallen Man, by reuniting him with Jerusalem, his Emanation, and saving him from the dominion of his Spectre, the great selfhood, called Satan."

Jerusalem, Plate 60, (E 210)
"Into veils of tears and sorrows O lovely Jerusalem!
They have perswaded thee to this, therefore their end shall come
And I will lead thee thro the Wilderness in shadow of my cloud
And in my love I will lead thee, lovely Shadow of Sleeping

This is the Song of the Lamb, sung by Slaves in evening time.

But Jerusalem faintly saw him, closd in the Dungeons of Babylon
Her Form was held by Beulahs Daughters. but all within unseen
She sat at the Mills, her hair unbound her feet naked
Cut with the flints: her tears run down, her reason grows like
The Wheel of Hand. incessant turning day & night without rest
Insane she raves upon the winds hoarse, inarticulate:
All night Vala hears. she triumphs in pride of holiness
To see Jerusalem deface her lineaments with bitter blows
Of despair. while the Satanic Holiness triumphd in Vala
In a Religion of Chastity & Uncircumcised Selfishness
Both of the Head & Heart & Loins, closd up in Moral Pride.

But the Divine Lamb stood beside Jerusalem. oft she saw
The lineaments Divine & oft the Voice heard, & oft she said:

O Lord & Saviour, have the Gods of the Heathen pierced thee?
Or hast thou been pierced in the House of thy Friends?

Jerusalem, Plate 83, (E 242)
"So Los spoke. to the Daughters of Beulah while his Emanation
Like a faint rainbow waved before him in the awful gloom
Of London City on the Thames from Surrey Hills to Highgate:
Swift turn the silver spindles, & the golden weights play soft
And lulling harmonies beneath the Looms, from Caithness in the north
To Lizard-point & Dover in the south: his Emanation
Joy'd in the many weaving threads in bright Cathedrons Dome
Weaving the Web of life for Jerusalem. the Web of life
Down flowing into Eututhons Vales glistens with soft affections.

While Los arose upon his Watch, and down from Golgonooza
Putting on his golden sandals to walk from mountain to mountain,"

Jerusalem, Plate 85, (E 244)
"And this is the Song of Los, the Song that he sings on his Watch

O lovely mild Jerusalem! O Shiloh of Mount Ephraim!
I see thy Gates of precious stones: thy Walls of gold & silver
Thou art the soft reflected Image of the Sleeping Man
Who stretchd on Albions rocks reposes amidst his Twenty-eight
Cities: where Beulah lovely terminates, in the hills & valleys of Albion
Cities not yet embodied in Time and Space: plant ye
The Seeds O Sisters in the bosom of Time & Spaces womb
To spring up for Jerusalem: lovely Shadow of Sleeping Albion

Why wilt thou rend thyself apart & build an Earthly Kingdom
To reign in pride & to opress & to mix the Cup of Delusion
O thou that dwellest with Babylon! Come forth O lovely-one
I see thy Form O lovely mild Jerusalem, Wingd with Six Wings
In the opacous Bosom of the Sleeper, lovely Three-fold
In Head & Heart & Reins, three Universes of love & beauty
Thy forehead bright: Holiness to the Lord, with Gates of pearl
Reflects Eternity beneath thy azure wings of feathery down
Ribbd delicate & clothd with featherd gold & azure & purple
From thy white shoulders shadowing, purity in holiness!
Thence featherd with soft crimson of the ruby bright as fire
Spreading into the azure Wings which like a canopy
Bends over thy immortal Head in which Eternity dwells
Albion beloved Land; I see thy mountains & thy hills
And valleys & thy pleasant Cities Holiness to the Lord
I see the Spectres of thy Dead O Emanation of Albion."

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